Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis

Our blog on migration and European Democracy is now live! We’re starting with an blog entry on “The View from Germany: CEAS Reform and the Spectre of “Merkel’s Refugee Policy”’ by Therese Herrmann, you can find it here

Norms and Values
Migration Policy
Civil Society
Cosmopolitan Europe

Work Package 3: Value agents and Strategies Used to Transmit Values and Norms

In this work package, we focus on local value agents—e.g., teachers, sports coaches, scout leaders, community advocates, civic leaders, and local government representatives—and the strategies they use to transmit European values in order to facilitate refugee and immigrant integration. Through empirical research in several countries and localities, we aim to explore how the values enshrined in laws and policies adopted by the European Union—e.g., gender equality, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.—are taught, shared, discussed, and acted upon in various local communities.

We will start with identifying relevant value agents operating within different arenas—local governments and non-governmental organizations, educational settings, and civic institutions. We will also examine institutions and groups playing leading roles in shaping public opinion on issues of immigration and immigrant integration, including pro- and anti-immigration activists. Once the appropriate agents are identified, we will study the principles underpinning the value systems—religious, political, multicultural, and others—they promote and assess the effects external funding, local networks and community activists have on prioritizing specific values. The value principles and the external factors will then be mapped. Finally, we will analyse the mechanisms and strategies value agents use to transmit particular values—training, formal educational sessions, informal discussions, social media, videography—and explore their effectiveness.

The empirical research will include participant observation, ethnographic interviews and focus group discussions with different value agents as well as refugees and immigrants participating in the value transmission activities. The empirical research will include three thematic case studies:

1. Hospitality and Humanitarianism, focusing on humanitarian action at home, on reasons to engage in providing assistance to refugees and immigrants as well as reasons for refusing to resettle refugees despite cultural and religious values to welcome the Stranger
2. Religious Tolerance (with a particular emphasis on Islam). Religion, especially the value of religious tolerance, is inextricably entwined with the value of hospitality. This case study will be carried out in countries with secular values, and countries where religion plays a significant role in politics and policy-making, including refugee and immigration policy.
3. Gender Equality. Gender equality is a founding value of the European Union, and one of the values that often is used to distinguish between Us and the Others.

The final phase of this work package will centre on the external dimension of value transmission. We will thus map the field of European value transmission as it is practiced externally in the encounters between representatives of the EU member states and refugees prior to arrival in Europe. These encounters take place through cultural orientation programs (COPs). The analytical focus is on which national and European core values member states include in their cultural orientation curricula and how these values are communicated and negotiated between and among value agents and refugees. This phase of the study will provide comparative data, including data from the United States, and will result in a comprehensive understanding of the values that are communicated explicitly as well as implicitly and presented as fluid/fixed, thereby yielding additional insights into European self-identity.


Our blog on migration and European Democracy is now live! We’re starting with an blog entry on “The View from Germany: CEAS Reform and the Spectre of “Merkel’s Refugee Policy”’ by Therese Herrmann, you can find it here

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